A Framework to Support A Systematic Approach to Unit Cost Development



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Availability of historical unit cost data is an important factor in developing accurate project cost estimates. State highway agencies (SHAs) collect data on historical bids and/or production rates, crew sizes and mixes, material costs, and equipment costs, including contractor overhead and profit. The objective of this research is to create a framework to define a standardized and a systematic approach for developing unit costs for construction project estimating. A literature review was conducted that provided an overview of estimating techniques used in project estimating, estimation guidelines maintained by SHAs, and information systems used in the estimation process. After gaining a broad overview of the industry?s approach to unit cost development, a survey was then conducted. The purpose of the survey was to identify the state of practice in SHAs for unit cost development. The survey helped to identify SHAs doing considerable work in unit cost development and interviews were conducted with these agencies to know their unit cost development process in detail. The results from survey and the interviews were then used in defining the framework. The framework provides a standardized way to use historical data for preparing construction project estimates.